Blog Posts Process Management

Building “Mini Cooper” apps: How ISVs use BPM PaaS to build Smart Process Applications

Blog: OpenText


Tue, 18 Jun 2013 04:58:00 GMT-05:00



Blog Post by Hans De
Visser (@Hans_de_Visser)

From my previous blog you may recall that I described how the
cloud is a catalyst for innovation and differentiation by applying
the principles of Mass Customization in IT.
I used the
example of the Mini Cooper which’ personalization options give you
that feeling like “hey… never seen this one before”, every time you
come across one.

BTW: Mini doesn’t sponsor me, and I myself
drive a pretty non-descript grey MPV. The concept just intrigues me
and here is why:

Last week we held a webinar with John Rymer
from Forrester and Uday Vijayan from Excel Software about Building
and Delivering the next generation of cloud-enabled business

John Rymer started off describing the challenge of
software developers (both at ISVs as well as in Enterprises) where
78% of them feel that the pressure of delivering faster and 79%
feel that the pressure of delivering more has made work harder. One
of the key reasons why cloud platforms are chosen is actually to
deliver fast.

John continued to explain that faster time to
market means two things: Fast delivery requires possibility of
customization and prompt updates & changes must be “designed

So if you’re building applications on a cloud platform
it’s pretty key that the platform supports you with the options for
continual improvement. Here’s the bullet-list that John shared with
us on the webinar.

It strikes me that these
eight options are all related to the question in how far SaaS
applications can be tailored / customized / personalized
without loosing the advantages of economies of
scale and lower unit cost that come with the cloud.

In other
words can I build “Mini Cooper” apps that have that appeal and the
options for customization, personalization and tailoring the user
experience at affordable cost?

Needless to say that the more
support you get out-of-the-box from the cloud platform, the easier
it will be for an ISV or Enterprise to take advantage of those
options at minimal cost and burden.

So far the theory. Uday
Viyayan, founder and CEO of Excel Software delivered the second
part of the webinar, and it intrigued me that they are applying
exactly these principles leveraging the Cordys platform.

Excel Software are based out of India and focus on building
applications for Supply Chain Management, MRP and Finance. They
started the journey to migrate their applications to Cordys as
while ago and just recently launched one of their core applications
called Medico Online as a SaaS application.

Uday explained
how they were pushing the Cordys platform to the extremes to
validate whether the concept that they wanted to apply could
actually stand the test.

Medico Online deals with sales and
distribution in the Pharmaceutical, Food and FMCG industries and
many of Excel Software clients require seamless integration of
Medico Online with their ERP back-end. For example: Excel built a
single transaction on Cordys that could write more than 72 (!)
transactions into the client’s global ERP system without
compromising on any of the system controls – in fact, adding far
richer domain specific functionality to the ERP. Here’s a picture
of the approach that they took:

While explaining
the concept using the picture above Uday unveiled a pretty
interesting view on the architecture of the application. Rather
than choosing a “classical” 3-tier architecture, Excel Software
leverages the Cordys platform to build their applications in a
5-tier layer.

The three tiers of UI, Application Logic and
Database are extended with a Process tier and an Integration tier.
The two additional tiers are used as and when relevant, so you’re
not forced into a straightjacket here.

The Process tier
allows you to build in flexibility and collaboration by design,
particularly when combined with business rules and business
activity monitoring (option 3, 4, 5 & 6 from John’s list). The
Integration tier supports you to establish seamless integration with
other applications and or services from the cloud and on

From a design time perspective we offer design
artifacts for all the “tiers” in one integrated andbrowser based
Collaborative Workspace (CWS).

The Collaborative
Workspace also covers the application life cycle management aspects
for deployment and upgrades of applications. Here’s where the other
options (1, 2, 7 & 8 ) that John mentioned come to play.

Applications in Cordys are collections of various artifacts that
are managed through the Cordys Application Packaging functionality
in CWS. Application packages can be deployed on tenant-level or
sub-tenant level (the latter are called organizations in

Cordys supports organization-level styling and
customizations, on the level of individual design artifacts. So
this gives an ISV and Enterprises all the flexibility to do
application configuration and personalization up to the level of
schema extension while leveraging the standard application that is
shared across organizations / tenants.

Cordys manages the
dependencies within the standard applications and between the
standard and customized artifacts on organization level, respecting
those customizations during upgrades.

For Excel Software this
translates to very tangible benefits. The CEO shared that Excel
Software reduced TCO substantially and more importantly this
approach has accelerated Time-to-Market by 5 times for the
implementation time of their applications.

This is what I
meant with the closing remark in my last blog that we’re seeing
ISVs adopting this approach with great results. I encourage you to
watch the on-demand webinar, which is available on the Cordys site.
to read more and watch the webinar.

I will unveil
more of the platform secrets that enable speed to production and
continual improvement options in a next blog about Cordys Cloud and
the benefits of multi-level multi-tenancy.

Stay tuned.

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